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Wednesday, January 27 • 11:20am - 11:40am
Development and Implementation of a New Fishery Management Paradigm For Saginaw Bay’s Walleyes and Yellow Perch

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AUTHORS: Todd A. Grischke*, Michigan DNR; James P. Baker, Michigan DNR; David G. Fielder, Michigan DNR

ABSTRACT: Until recently, Saginaw Bay’s walleye population was managed for recovery and yellow perch based on statewide harvest regulations. Walleye achieved their recovery targets in 2009 but yellow perch declined substantially and their low numbers were attributed to predation effects from walleye and other predators. A research based initiative evaluated a range of recreational fishing intensities across two critical uncertainties in the form of a decision analysis. That effort indicated the potential to intensify the recreational fishing mortality by an additional 50% and still stay within the limits of sustainability. Aside from greater utilization of walleye within the limits of sustainability, a liberalized walleye harvest was hoped to benefit yellow perch via of increased survival. We conducted a year long process of fishery management strategy development to try and achieve the increased walleye utilization and yellow perch benefits. We engaged stakeholders via an advisory committee and public input process to gauge acceptability of candidate management initiatives including liberalized daily bag limits and a lowering of the minimum length limit for walleye. A reduction of yellow perch recreational bag limit by 50% was also proposed along with a reduction in commercial effort targeting yellow perch, implementation of a cormorant management program, and cisco reintroduction experiments, all intended to further promote perch survival. Emerging is a new fishery management paradigm that will tie future walleye harvest regulations to annual assessment and modeling outputs. The result will be a more flexible and state-based fishery management aimed at optimal walleye utilization and recovery of yellow perch. This presentation is a companion follow-up to the presentation on the evaluation of new fishery management objectives and criteria via a decision analysis.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST